"Nooooo I can't help because Iiiiii stupid"Sakamata Chloe

A non-pozzed writing thread

Kanada Cilla Choo

Official commander-in-sneed
Joined:  Nov 8, 2022
I decided to make this thread after thinking on this thread for awhile, if there really is a lack of good writing communities, why not just make our own thread on it?

This is a thread for writers to gather and talk about their work, Vtuber related or not, engage in mass debates, share ideas and hone their skills whether it's worldbuilding, fanfiction, story writing, alternate history or any other odd ideas you have, if it's allowed on the forum, you can talk about it here.

Generally, like the rest of the community, this should be rules-light, but to keep things a little organised, and to clear some things up, here are some guidelines on what I think this thread would be optimally

No politics or getting off-topic, don't start a 10-post argument on whether Robert Jabrony is the antichrist, obviously if a story involves politics it's fine to talk about it so long as the conversation remains relevant to the discussion and doesn't veer off into an actual argument

Give actual criticism, if you're gonna call someone a braindead retard who writes with their ass, at least provide the reason you think that. This also applies to trying to force someone to insert your ideas into their story, look for things that are tropes, cliches, poorly written and so on, providing actual feedback, not just "I personally dislike this thing so remove it" or "I think this idea is cool so you must add it".

These are the only two I can think of right now, if issues come up I'll add more, for now, let's hope this thread actually gets some attention.
 

The Proctor

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Don't have much to contribute right now, but funnily enough just today this video popped up in my youtube feed, and is a remarkably good non-clickbait deep dive on how to write decent exposition.

 

Kanada Cilla Choo

Official commander-in-sneed
Joined:  Nov 8, 2022
I'll make a small comment on Fantasy settings to trigger some interesting conversation.

I have alot of controversial thoughts on Fantasy, and Fantasy races are surprisingly the more tepid of my opinions. There is nothing wrong with using just basic Races (Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs), they're useful if you want to help people get into your setting easily, and if you're not doing Spec. evolution, having a long genetic ancestry and an evolutionary tree can be offputting for a lot of people, and an entirely unique roster of Races can result in people feeling alienated and confused with the setting. This isn't to discredit the idea of Spec. Evolution, or even having an entirely unique roster of races, but I've seen a lot of people regard using the basics as "lazy" and boring, which just isn't true, it's entirely dependent on whether or not the writer has the skill to make it work.
Don't have much to contribute right now, but funnily enough just today this video popped up in my youtube feed, and is a remarkably good non-clickbait deep dive on how to write decent exposition.


I think it's interesting that Xenofiction shows up mostly in children's media, it's become a way of letting kids learn about and tackle mature topics without actually having them watch Holocaust footage and see unimaginable horror get inflicted on humans. Of course, as any kid who watched Watership Down can attest to, Xenofiction has kinda been typecast as a kid's medium and is very rarely treated seriously or targetted toward adults, and when it is it often gets mistaken as kids content, and usually leads to furious parents reacting in horror as their kids watch bunny rabbits get torn to pieces.
 

agility_

We have some serious streams to discuss 🔨
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Joined:  Sep 14, 2022
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I wouldn't get too caught up in the ins and outs of how to write complex or simple characters and settings. This fat prick shat out a bloated 300+ page 80s pop-culture americana pamphlet and sold a truckload, won multiple awards and had an adaptation film "directed" by Stephen Spielberg. A telling symptom of the times is that the sequel novel released a decade later was panned and snubbed by the same reddittor crowd the novel is written for.
Just fucking open RPO, any page, and there you will find a lesson, or multiple ones, on how not to write anything.
 
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The Proctor

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I'm going to let my inveterate cynicism out of the box for a bit and rant about creativity in general.

I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that most people can't create. They can only copy. This is not a matter of intent, but a matter of intrinsic ability, or at the very least, behaviors learned to the point of instinct.

I consider this deeply ironic, because one of my very favorite genres is the crossover fanfic, specifically the Japanese Super Robot Wars series. All creative works are inherently derivative, 'there are no new ideas under the sun', etc. But most people in my experience are unable to abstract an idea beyond that which has already been created, on the basis that 'well, it's been done already, why do I need to do it myself?'.

I would say that there are perhaps a dozen truly creative individuals per generation, and easily 99.999% of all other creatives that share their space intrinsically copy from their example rather than create Ex nihilo. This is because most people intrinsically look for associations between superficially similar ideas, and simplify those ideas down to the lowest common denominator.

A good example of this is the Dark Souls franchise. I really, genuinely hate Dark Souls. Not because it's a bad game series - it's a fantastic game series. I hate it because it has utterly monopolized an entire genre of fiction, which can be loosely defined as the 'save-scumming genre', aka a genre in which there is the implicit in-universe ability for characters to die and reincarnate. I like this genre a lot, but the pop-cultural dominance of Dark Souls means that any idea with a similar principle is automatically assigned the thought-terminating cliche of 'Dark Souls clone'.

To those who are unwilling or simply uninterested in the mental effort that originality (or, at bare minimum, a level of derivation that exceeds the norm, itself no easy feat), things like this destroy both creative output and creative motivation. A creator can exert a tremendous about of effort designing and building an idea that, at the very least, has many merits of its own, but which will inevitably be disregarded as a 'clone' of something else based on an entirely superficial assessment of its surface-level similarities.

This attitude also encourages creative individuals to engage in derivative practices simply to make money and cater to the thoughts and desires of people trained or born without creative impulses. A creative person with original ideas may end up never producing an original work because aping an established trend is simply more profitable.

Now, I'm not saying that copying somebody else is an intrinsically bad thing. I hate copyright on anything that is inherently reproducible by intellectual effort alone. But being a creative individual in the present society is a painful and irritating experience, which social pressure actively conspires to make more difficult than it should be.
 

Nenélove

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Joined:  Sep 16, 2022
I'm going to let my inveterate cynicism out of the box for a bit and rant about creativity in general.

I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that most people can't create. They can only copy. This is not a matter of intent, but a matter of intrinsic ability, or at the very least, behaviors learned to the point of instinct.

I consider this deeply ironic, because one of my very favorite genres is the crossover fanfic, specifically the Japanese Super Robot Wars series. All creative works are inherently derivative, 'there are no new ideas under the sun', etc. But most people in my experience are unable to abstract an idea beyond that which has already been created, on the basis that 'well, it's been done already, why do I need to do it myself?'.

I would say that there are perhaps a dozen truly creative individuals per generation, and easily 99.999% of all other creatives that share their space intrinsically copy from their example rather than create Ex nihilo. This is because most people intrinsically look for associations between superficially similar ideas, and simplify those ideas down to the lowest common denominator.

A good example of this is the Dark Souls franchise. I really, genuinely hate Dark Souls. Not because it's a bad game series - it's a fantastic game series. I hate it because it has utterly monopolized an entire genre of fiction, which can be loosely defined as the 'save-scumming genre', aka a genre in which there is the implicit in-universe ability for characters to die and reincarnate. I like this genre a lot, but the pop-cultural dominance of Dark Souls means that any idea with a similar principle is automatically assigned the thought-terminating cliche of 'Dark Souls clone'.

To those who are unwilling or simply uninterested in the mental effort that originality (or, at bare minimum, a level of derivation that exceeds the norm, itself no easy feat), things like this destroy both creative output and creative motivation. A creator can exert a tremendous about of effort designing and building an idea that, at the very least, has many merits of its own, but which will inevitably be disregarded as a 'clone' of something else based on an entirely superficial assessment of its surface-level similarities.

This attitude also encourages creative individuals to engage in derivative practices simply to make money and cater to the thoughts and desires of people trained or born without creative impulses. A creative person with original ideas may end up never producing an original work because aping an established trend is simply more profitable.

Now, I'm not saying that copying somebody else is an intrinsically bad thing. I hate copyright on anything that is inherently reproducible by intellectual effort alone. But being a creative individual in the present society is a painful and irritating experience, which social pressure actively conspires to make more difficult than it should be.
Interesting take on the subject, I'll give my 2 cents on this:
For my part, creativity is like you say, inherently derivative, I don't believe there is any idea on this green earth that has not already been put out to the world in some way or another. Even if there were, our brains' ability to create is derivative, we are far more like those hated art A.I.s that people would want to admit, this is called "inspiration". Everyone who has ever made anything has been inspired by something else, that is a fact and it's inescapable.

I do not blame creators for being unoriginal or derivative, because nobody nowadays creates just for the sake of creation, of beauty, or making something amazing. That is a fact which has always made me disillusioned with any creative scene I have interfaced with, be it artistic or scientific. Whatever people do to try to make things, is nearly always with some sort of monetary or reputational purpose, there is no "art for art's sake". You see this with indie vtubers even, they always claim to be "doing it for a hobby" but they always seem to be looking for that big break and resent those who get more fame and recognition.

Thus we can conclude that any creator with drive to improve their craft and become better is only doing it with the promise of a reward for their efforts, and even if that does not fit with my idealism I can accept that humans are driven by the betterment of their situations. You cannot blame a dog for waging it's tail when positively stimulated or humans for wanting more out of life.

I have gone on a tangent, but it is a necessary one to explain WHY people are inherently derivative, in an economic, cultural and social sense more than a behavioral sense. My answer to this conundrum is the general audience, and the meta of content creation. Creators create to get bigger, getting bigger means more people seeing your stuff and paying attention to your future endeavors. Any attempt to be niche, risque or break from the norm will always alienate a large contingent of the "general audience" or what some people nowadays call "normies" (even if that term is borderline cringy, edgy lingo and uncool to use).

The general audience is the hump of the bell curve, the majority, and the people who will make any creator famous, so catering to them has become a priority; and the general audiences of today really do hate being challenged, they just want the same stuff, over and over and over. Why do you think studios and game devs can get away with producing the same crap, year after year? Because it still makes money, people fucking eat it up without even considering what kind of slop is being served to them. There is no incentive to change, I established above that creation is not art anymore, it's business, and businesses always follow the money. The situation we have found ourselves in today is not some issue with the degradation of modern society, it is simply the logical consequence of supply and demand for creative works.

So the game is revealed, creators are not derivative because they are inherently unoriginal or lazy (well some are but that's besides the point), it's because doing anything but what is popular is almost guaranteed to either fail or bring in almost no eyes to your future work. Studios have a "sequel fever" because they are too scared to bet on something new and have it flop horribly. This whole thing is just like a meta in a game, humans finding out the easiest, most effective way to do something and then any other option becoming worthless.

Some people will achieve greatness with a new idea, but they are the exception to the norm. You like them because you are a user of a counter-culture community on the internet, you are maligned by everyone else as a cybercriminal and represent 1% of the web's population. Most people are normies, they don't care about the creative process, they don't care how long an animation took even if it's the second coming of Pixar, and they don't care about breaking boundaries or making new amazing, creatively driven, innovative projects. Reading this little rant might make you think that I'm only referring to the big scale stuff, triple A games and Hollywood blockbusters, but this same situation happens in all strata, even if small websites with only a few thousand users, someone will always do something popular and everyone will love it, people only want consume that one thing and it becomes the meta.
 
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GOD'S STRONGEST BUILDERBEAR

"Shut up, Dazzle. I will clip your balls" -SB
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Joined:  Sep 12, 2022
A good example of this is the Dark Souls franchise. I really, genuinely hate Dark Souls. Not because it's a bad game series - it's a fantastic game series. I hate it because it has utterly monopolized an entire genre of fiction, which can be loosely defined as the 'save-scumming genre', aka a genre in which there is the implicit in-universe ability for characters to die and reincarnate. I like this genre a lot, but the pop-cultural dominance of Dark Souls means that any idea with a similar principle is automatically assigned the thought-terminating cliche of 'Dark Souls clone'.
Look its just repeating history really. Before that all the shooty games were called doom clones because doom is the most recognizable game of its own new genre. Doesnt mean games like hexen, duke nukem 3d or rise of a triad copy everything doom does, hexen brought the shooty game into a fantasy setting, duke nukem 3d added depth to the gameplay and level design and rise of a triad literally did everything in the most assbackwards way possible. Ofc there were a lot of actual doom clones but after couple of years and evolution of genre brought by quake, unreal and multiple other games doom clones became a full fledged genre of first person shooters.
Same thing happening here, really. Theres the defining game of dark souls, shitton of clones of dark souls 2, darksouls 3 and release of more varied darksouls-likes like sekiro, and natural evolution of genre that came with elden ring. Genre is still establishing give it a second

For my part, creativity is like you say, inherently derivative, I don't believe there is any idea on this green earth that has not already been put out to the world in some way or another. Even if there were, our brains' ability to create is derivative, we are far more like those hated art A.I.s that people would want to admit, this is called "inspiration". Everyone who has ever made anything has been inspired by something else, that is a fact and it's inescapable.

I do not blame creators for being unoriginal or derivative, because nobody nowadays creates just for the sake of creation, of beauty, or making something amazing. That is a fact which has always made me disillusioned with any creative scene I have interfaced with, be it artistic or scientific. Whatever people do to try to make things, is nearly always with some sort of monetary or reputational purpose, there is no "art for art's sake". You see this with indie vtubers even, they always claim to be "doing it for a hobby" but they always seem to be looking for that big break and resent those who get more fame and recognition.

Thus we can conclude that any creator with drive to improve their craft and become better is only doing it with the promise of a reward for their efforts, and even if that does not fit with my idealism I can accept that humans are driven by the betterment of their situations. You cannot blame a dog for waging it's tail when positively stimulated or humans for wanting more out of life.
well doesnt that go against the whole abstract thing people were people had going on for a while now? Math is abstract, it only exists in our brain. You cannot feel numbers, yet we see the results of the math every day in architecture, design or in front of you looking at a screen. Countless muslim mathematicians were calculating right angles and such to erect taj mahal, a structure that couldnt ever be spotted in the wild, and is derived from manmade structures by trying to one up everything that was done before it. And you really cant tell me that the technology itself isnt art, considering that even with things like clocks weve gone from simple designs like a stone slab in the middle of circle of numbers to a precise machines that were oldtimey pocket clocks to digital clocks of nowadays. They have the same function, but the implementation is different and unique from eachover where you cant really tell that one is derived from others.
Id say art is derivitive but not inherently. Once in a while a man will reinvent something, he will do something nobody did before him not for a reward but also out of passion. Curie didnt bomb herself with radiation for money, dead people usually have no use for it. Beethoven wasnt creating music for an applause, deaf people cannot hear it.
 
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Harrow Prime

Not Like Before.
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So I would like to ask a question. How do you guys go about writing for others if any of you have experience with that?

First, I don't consider myself a professional writer. Never have, and I almost make George Martin look like Stephen King when it comes to consistently writing.
A while back I asked someone if I could write some lore for them. They agreed, and it was a pretty casual conversation so I doubt they were expecting much from it. I have been pondering how to go about it left and right these last few weeks however. I do want to write something for them though. It's just I keep second guessing myself.
Keep in mind I mostly write in the science fiction/fantasy genre. In this case I want to write something that's a bit more realistic.
While I would share my results of what I have tried so far, that would unfortunately result in a dox of myself.
 

The Proctor

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So I would like to ask a question. How do you guys go about writing for others if any of you have experience with that?

First, I don't consider myself a professional writer. Never have, and I almost make George Martin look like Stephen King when it comes to consistently writing.
A while back I asked someone if I could write some lore for them. They agreed, and it was a pretty casual conversation so I doubt they were expecting much from it. I have been pondering how to go about it left and right these last few weeks however. I do want to write something for them though. It's just I keep second guessing myself.
Keep in mind I mostly write in the science fiction/fantasy genre. In this case I want to write something that's a bit more realistic.
While I would share my results of what I have tried so far, that would unfortunately result in a dox of myself.

First of all I'd find out why they aren't writing this themselves.

Is it because they can, but don't have the time?
Is it because they can't, for lack of skill?
Is it because they have the ideas, are but ESL cannot english and?

All this matters. If it's an informal arrangement, I'd honestly say the most important thing is the ego issue, aka how much do they want to author their ideas with you as the pen rather than as the scribe? That's a hard difference to illustrate, but it boils down to 'how much of their creative vision do they want in the results, versus your creative interpretation?'

This is very relevant when considering how much editing you want to do. I'd always ask a potential client something along the lines of 'are you going to be happy when the work fits the broad strokes of what you have in your head but need me to translate something another human actually wants to read, or do you want to micromanage my output to capture an exact vision you have?' I can work with both kinds of people, but a misalignment between your expectations versus theirs can be devastating to any kind of sustained partnership.

I could say more but I'm really tired right now, so I'll stop here and let others speak if they have additional input.
 

Thomas Talus

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There's nothing wrong with writing, it's a perfectly natural thing to do; but for heaven's sake don't do it in front of other people!
 

Harrow Prime

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Does anyone write with a set endpoint in the story and feel comfortable doing so? In other words, do you write with the main parts of the story all plotted out before you even begin writing? I feel like that really restricts you on the writing process and, in my own experience, drains me of motivation to complete what I'm writing. Maybe I'm weird for that, I'm not sure, as I haven't seen anyone else comment on using plot, at least not that I remember.
 

Nenélove

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Does anyone write with a set endpoint in the story and feel comfortable doing so? In other words, do you write with the main parts of the story all plotted out before you even begin writing? I feel like that really restricts you on the writing process and, in my own experience, drains me of motivation to complete what I'm writing. Maybe I'm weird for that, I'm not sure, as I haven't seen anyone else comment on using plot, at least not that I remember.
Well, Imo you kinda need to? I usually figure out all of the plot points of the section that I'm going to write (a whole book or arc) and leave the rest in the backburner simmering while I get ideas for it. The ending I always have figured out first, since it's important to really know how you want your characters to progress up to their end point. There's also all of the worldbuilding (which I really love to do) and figuring out how the different parts of the setting and world relate to one another before you actually begin threading a story thread through it.

As for it seeming "restrictive", nothing that I plot out first is set in stone, I usually let the story change radically as I'm actually writing it, the plot points are mainly markers so that I don't end up just wasting time in pointless scenes or introducing shit which has no purpose or payoff.

I struggle to do anything in general, be it a creative endeavor or any kind of work, which really fucks with my output. It probably comes from me being a perfection freak, incredibly insecure about my work and generally a master procrastinator. Which is the perfect god-given curse for me, I have all of these amazing ideas all the time but no way to actually bring them to reality... if I could I would give up creativity for work-ethic, seems way more useful.
 

Harrow Prime

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Well, Imo you kinda need to? I usually figure out all of the plot points of the section that I'm going to write (a whole book or arc) and leave the rest in the backburner simmering while I get ideas for it. The ending I always have figured out first, since it's important to really know how you want your characters to progress up to their end point. There's also all of the worldbuilding (which I really love to do) and figuring out how the different parts of the setting and world relate to one another before you actually begin threading a story thread through it.

As for it seeming "restrictive", nothing that I plot out first is set in stone, I usually let the story change radically as I'm actually writing it, the plot points are mainly markers so that I don't end up just wasting time in pointless scenes or introducing shit which has no purpose or payoff.

I struggle to do anything in general, be it a creative endeavor or any kind of work, which really fucks with my output. It probably comes from me being a perfection freak, incredibly insecure about my work and generally a master procrastinator. Which is the perfect god-given curse for me, I have all of these amazing ideas all the time but no way to actually bring them to reality... if I could I would give up creativity for work-ethic, seems way more useful.
Damn, just like me. I only recently started trying to develop a work-ethic.

And I do have parts such as the beginning and end usually planned out, but eventually I get caught up in what happens in between before I even write them. And it basically ends up with me going "this has to happen like this, etc..." and then I end up trying to make each scene I'm writing the exact way I have it in my head without getting too descriptive or leaving out too much, which makes it more of a chore than something I enjoy. If I'm writing something that is going to be standard novel length then I have to do it before I start making the plot in my head before I even write it otherwise it just becomes a pain in the ass and I don't want to continue with it. Doesn't help that these thoughts never go away so I'm just stuck with this story in my head that I don't want to write. I guess my issue is I don't let myself be flexible. I'll try and change that.

I also realized an hour ago I have a random email account that I forgot the reason for it's existence. Maybe I oughta use that so that way I can share my work here without doxxing myself, as I could use some critique if others here are willing to give my stuff a shot. I am also insecure about the shit I write (and a master procrastinator with ADHD), but I got to learn to take a hit and roll with it.
 

The Proctor

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Does anyone write with a set endpoint in the story and feel comfortable doing so? In other words, do you write with the main parts of the story all plotted out before you even begin writing? I feel like that really restricts you on the writing process and, in my own experience, drains me of motivation to complete what I'm writing. Maybe I'm weird for that, I'm not sure, as I haven't seen anyone else comment on using plot, at least not that I remember.

I'm a bit of a control freak so I like to plan the endpoint well in advance. This is part of the reason that although I'm a writer by trade I don't actually do much creative writing. I tend to play out stories in my head and then because of ADHD I go something along the lines of 'okay I already know where this goes, time to get distracted by shiny things for an hour'.

This is why I was hugely into roleplaying communities when I was younger, because that was a way to engage in creative writing without knowing the endpoint beforehand. Only problem is that I improved whereas people I knew for 8+ years still couldn't manage anything more original than 'the protagonist of the latest Shonen anime I watched'. It's what convinced me that like IQ, significant parts of the creative process are genetic, and cannot be learned no matter how much experience the writer possesses.
 

Harrow Prime

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I'm a bit of a control freak so I like to plan the endpoint well in advance. This is part of the reason that although I'm a writer by trade I don't actually do much creative writing. I tend to play out stories in my head and then because of ADHD I go something along the lines of 'okay I already know where this goes, time to get distracted by shiny things for an hour'.

This is why I was hugely into roleplaying communities when I was younger, because that was a way to engage in creative writing without knowing the endpoint beforehand. Only problem is that I improved whereas people I knew for 8+ years still couldn't manage anything more original than 'the protagonist of the latest Shonen anime I watched'. It's what convinced me that like IQ, significant parts of the creative process are genetic, and cannot be learned no matter how much experience the writer possesses.
Yeah, I always have had an end goal in mind when making stories, I just can't let my thoughts get ahead of my actual writing. Last night though I ended up writing away with only a theme to guide me. Didn't consider what the start looked like, and I don't know what the end looks like. Although I have nearly a decade of lore in my head that is helping me here, it still feels nice to just write with only a concept that I want this character to explore in this particular little story.

As for roleplaying communities I've only dipped my toes into roleplaying just a tiny bit. I don't know, I've always been the type of person who is better at doing creative things on my own, which means I've only done a couple of roleplaying things way back in like, 2015 or 2016. And no, I do not like thinking about the roleplay scenes I've been involved in.

I guess it's just getting too caught up in plotting before writing feels like it limits me too much. Unlike Nenelove, I can't help but feel like a scene has to play out the way I imagined it would before with no wiggle room for any changes when I'm already in the middle of writing it. The problem for me lies in the fact that by the time I reach a certain point in a story and things are different from how I imagined it I can't help but feel like it's wrong and want to start over from the beginning. That is something I intend to address now that I've given it some thought.

Also, I figure I ask what the method of treatment for ADHD on that end of the world. Something tells me they don't prescribe you amphetamines to become a fucking superhuman for nearly 12 hours a day like they do to me, but it's not like it's something I've had the chance to ask before.
 

Egg the Boiled

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Does anyone write with a set endpoint in the story and feel comfortable doing so?
It just depends on personal preference. For most people, plotting a work out is better to make sure the story is going towards a specific goal or that it's consistent. But some people end up having a much better time writing without planning, and then tidying it later.

I write like a ping pong ball- I have the jist of everything plotted out sure, but I write chapters entirely anachronistically just based on what part I feel like at the time. I end up doing the ol' stare-at-a-blank-page if I don't do that, so even though it isn't really a great system, it gets me going. Better then no work at all.

The problem for me lies in the fact that by the time I reach a certain point in a story and things are different from how I imagined it
You probably would be better off with planning, but if not, try to write through that feeling that things aren't quite right. First draft doesn't need to be perfect, just write what you can and when you're done, come back and straighten it out.

If you have to start over, keep your previous attempts in another folder. You'll probably regret getting rid of them entirely.
 

Nenélove

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I guess it's just getting too caught up in plotting before writing feels like it limits me too much. Unlike Nenelove, I can't help but feel like a scene has to play out the way I imagined it would before with no wiggle room for any changes when I'm already in the middle of writing it. The problem for me lies in the fact that by the time I reach a certain point in a story and things are different from how I imagined it I can't help but feel like it's wrong and want to start over from the beginning. That is something I intend to address now that I've given it some thought.
For me it's mainly the wording, I will write and re-write a scene like 50 times because the wording is off, I do not hate my ideas, I just hate my application of them.

I really don't mind changing the plot if I need to, the main story I have been writing for the past 6 or so months was a learning experience that I'm willing to share.
I wanted to have this Nip character begin the main storyline in summer before getting into school in the fall, I had everything set up in my mind and was already writing the chapter when I realized the obvious... Japanese students begin school in the spring. I contemplated scrapping the whole thing because I REALLY needed it to be summer for plot reasons.

Then I thought "you know what? What am I doing writing about a culture I'm largely ignorant of?" Truly how could I feel comfortable writing a character from a culture so far removed from my own? East asian cultures are Shame-based and I come from a mostly Guilt-based one, how could I ever hope to deeply understand them? If I committed this simple mistake then I would make 100 others later on, have incongruent character reactions, morals and values and all sorts of nasty things. So I decided to compromise on the plot and make him a second-generation Japanese immigrant on the US/Canada, which are cultures which I understand much better and I can feel safe writing for, having my MC have values and a way of thinking I can more easily write for instead of one I could never fully grasp unless I lived in it for decades.

I think you should never become obsessed with your initial idea and should be open to compromises with your plot.
 

Harrow Prime

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Joined:  Sep 13, 2022
For me it's mainly the wording, I will write and re-write a scene like 50 times because the wording is off, I do not hate my ideas, I just hate my application of them.

I really don't mind changing the plot if I need to, the main story I have been writing for the past 6 or so months was a learning experience that I'm willing to share.
I wanted to have this Nip character begin the main storyline in summer before getting into school in the fall, I had everything set up in my mind and was already writing the chapter when I realized the obvious... Japanese students begin school in the spring. I contemplated scrapping the whole thing because I REALLY needed it to be summer for plot reasons.

Then I thought "you know what? What am I doing writing about a culture I'm largely ignorant of?" Truly how could I feel comfortable writing a character from a culture so far removed from my own? East asian cultures are Shame-based and I come from a mostly Guilt-based one, how could I ever hope to deeply understand them? If I committed this simple mistake then I would make 100 others later on, have incongruent character reactions, morals and values and all sorts of nasty things. So I decided to compromise on the plot and make him a second-generation Japanese immigrant on the US/Canada, which are cultures which I understand much better and I can feel safe writing for, having my MC have values and a way of thinking I can more easily write for instead of one I could never fully grasp unless I lived in it for decades.

I think you should never become obsessed with your initial idea and should be open to compromises with your plot.

Wording is a problem for me as well. I have had nights where I lay in bed annoyed at the fact that I went through countless revisions of a scene and never felt satisfied with it.
As for writing about cultures, I haven't touched writing something that takes place on a realistic setting of Earth. I am used to making up cultures that are inspired by real ones, but the relation to them are surface level mostly. The closest I've ever come to a situation like that comes from a Holo fanfic I was writing a year ago. (Also I feel like I'm bringing that up to an annoying degree. Sorry about that.)
As for compromising with the plot, it's hard for me. Especially with my original story, which, as I've said before, has nearly a decade of me building the universe. If I compromise for one thing, it might contradict with something that I've already established before in the universe. Tinkering with my past lore is difficult because it's fragile. I make one change, and now I'll have to make so many other changes to so many other things. Of course, that's a me problem and is what I get for making such a detailed universe for a story that probably won't get put out to the public for another decade probably at this rate.
I have been sitting here for nearly two hours contemplating things. I'll probably have more to say later on.
 

Harrow Prime

Not Like Before.
Early Adopter
Kronii's Husband
Joined:  Sep 13, 2022
So, another question has come to mind, and it's about worldbuilding. What do you guys think is important to keep note of when making worlds and trying to describe them in writing?
 

Nenélove

ROTCORP EHT
Early Adopter
Joined:  Sep 16, 2022
So, another question has come to mind, and it's about worldbuilding. What do you guys think is important to keep note of when making worlds and trying to describe them in writing?
  • Go narrow but deep, not wide but shallow: When worldbuilding focus on the most important aspects of it that matter in your story and really delve into those specific things. Eg: If your character is a wandering merchant then maybe dive into medieval currency systems and bartering, do research on the topic and have it be a main thing in the story (spice and wolf does this really well), instead of diving into something like foreign policy or army dynamics which will probably not come up in such a story. If you try to tackle everything at once your story will feel incredibly shallow and the reader will not feel like the world exists outside of anything the MC interacts with.
  • Prioritize writing, not worldbuilding: A lot of writers want to do all of the worldbuilding before they even begin writing so their story is perfect and amazing. Since lotr and asoiaf became popular now every fantasy writer wants their own thousand-years-of-history world with dynasties and wars and regions in the margins of the map. What people conveniently forget is that novels and such are literary works, not school textbooks, if said worldbuilding doesn't have anything to do with your main plot or future plots you are foreshadowing then don't even waste your time trying to expand on it. The reader doesn't have to know who by and how the world was created or how every race came to be, the only thing readers want to know is the story you are telling, right here, right now.
  • You don't have to explain everything: Piggybacking off of the previous point, you do not have to build out all of the lore about everything from the beginning. A lot of writers put a ton of effort into their worldbuilding and wanna show it off because they are proud, but this often leads to the first chapter exposition dump that everybody will tell you is a bad thing to do. Readers don't need to be flooded with pointless information about gods, kings and other nonsense, the first thing in your book should be a relatable character introduction or a narrative hook. Even then, you arguably shouldn't explain everything, a lot of readers claim they want more lore, more details, more maps, but in reality, the most long-lived stories are those which are left open-ended, where the reader can take part in the creative process and ask themselves "I wonder what is beyond the map's borders" or "What did happen in this massive ruined city?", it invites the imagination of readers and even though they will never admit it most people are suckers for that kind of thing.
  • Show, don't tell: This is a very common writing tip, but it also applies in worldbuilding! A lot of writers like to have their characters spout out exposition about this or that thing, or have the omniscient narrator deviate from the plot to go on a tangent about whatever bit of lore pertinent to the current plot point. This is a universally bad thing unless you are integrating it into the story in a creative way instead of shoehorning it in. What you want to do is have your descriptions of places and people speak to the lore behind them, Eg: The site of a battlefield, broken weapons, muddied earth covered in hundreds of footprints, trampled bodies, maybe the tattered banners of the parties involved which a character will point out or the reader will be able to discern from subtle descriptions and their own attention to previously mentioned details. It may not be what you had in mind but it's better than "and MC's friend went 'Oh lordie! This is the borderland of the Poopheads and the Buttholes! They have been fighting each other around here for decades!".
  • No stupid unpronounceable names: How many times have you seen fictional names like "Ohafg' Chik-Worpabh Chiefdom" or "Tenglaitus Vorploxitus System" in novels both amateurish and semi-professional? Loads right? It's definitely a massive problem with authors; they create names that are purposefully ridiculous and unpronounceable just because they sound exotic and fantastical, I mean Tolkien has a bunch of ridiculous names like "Hithaeglir" and "Ainulindalë" right? Well, the only difference between ol' John Reuel and your average starving author is that he was a linguist, philologist and an actual scholar who had a massive love or arguably borderline obsession with languages and created several for his stories. Of course, not every writer can commit to that, and I do not recommend it, but a good tip to make your names sound natural is to simply pick them out of real life languages that inspire the culture you are writing (Tolkien based his elvish languages on welsh btw). You can pick a root word and slightly alter it, pick a related word and translate it or simply try to create words and names which follow the same linguistic characteristics.
  • Piggyback on real culture and history: This is one that a lot of people do intuitively but is still worth mentioning. Trying to invent new types of cultures is incredibly tough, the cultures that exist and have existed on earth are products of a myriad of historical, environmental and chance-based factors, trying to create a culture that is completely severed from that is very much impossible, even sci-fi writers struggle to make alien races that aren't based off of humanity because we simply do not know how society would develop on other planets since our only example is ourselves. Taking cues from real culture and real history will enrich your story, even more so if you integrate them intelligently with the metaphysics of your universe instead of shoehorning it in or making it overt and obvious.
  • Notice the importance of geography on culture: Geography is more important than anything when developing cultures and it has played a big part in how our world looks today, when making realistic fictional worlds always remember that readers can and will feel it when you have nonsensical worldbuilding.
    • The most important element is water, water is the bloodline of any civilization, it provides irrigation for crops, protection from enemy states, food from fishing and hunting, ease of transportation and trade, any river deltas, large freshwater lakes, large inlets or sounds and meetings between several large rivers are prime places for capital cities, important trade hubs and fortresses protecting the breadbasket. Large cities placed inland without a source of freshwater will have to be very strategic spots (a mine, a frontier fort) and will have to have their water delivered to them.
    • Second is food sources, the way your civilization acts, its relations with others and even its core ideology will be driven by where it gets its food. Is the main food source seafood? Then the state will be a coastal one with a developed maritime industry and strong trading; Is it mainly attained through herding cattle? Then the society will likely be a steppe dwelling warrior society (this always happens on earth); Great grain producing states tend to be as large as the flat riverine plains they occupy and tend to have organized monarchies with peasantry and nobility.
    • Mountains, large rivers, deep jungles, hot deserts, dark forests and artic tundra will serve as boundaries between states and will prevent culture, money and language from spreading.
    • Climate will also prevent large cultural centers from spreading, areas which are in the same climatic zone will tend to be part of the same country or civilizational root, those in different zones will struggle to unify due to the differences in their lifestyles and food sources.
  • Powerful forces and their impacts on your world: Many writers love to include powerful, mind-boggling things into their worlds be it magic and monsters in fantasy or insane tech in sci-fi, it all suffers from the same story-breaking issue. When you add anything to your world, take a minute and really think about the ramifications of it upon your earth-inspired society; it is quite jarring to have fantasy where there exist super-powered magic users that can literally unleash natural disasters at will and somehow the world has not descended into total anarchy and devastation. What about having flying dragons in a medieval setting whose mere existence makes castles obsolete? Or portals which would make ANY defenses obsolete? Or time travel which is a literal plot hole generating machine? As a rule of thumb, keep uber-powerful things out of your story if you are not ready to spend the rest of your time accounting for them in every inch of your worldbuilding. A lot of writers like to use time travel or respawning or some other gimmick in their books, but it's usually something that they write the entire story around because it's so incredibly overpowered.
  • Run stories in the background: This practice is also known as foreshadowing, and it is a good way to make your world feel like it exists beyond the MC and their plot-driven romps. It is always a good idea to introduce subtle ideas like a brewing war or signs of a coming festival into banal conversations between characters or routine descriptions of environments, or explaining world mechanics that are completely pointless at the moment but will become unexpectedly relevant later on. All of this makes the world feel real because it also happens in real life, how many times are we made aware of things that do not concern us at the present time but come in handy or are made relevant later on? Loads and you may not even notice it. It simply gives the world more depth on top of its usual job as a clever plot delivery trick.
  • Don't be lazy and study up: If you want to make your world realistic and DEEP you should be prepared to study up on the subjects you include. A lot of writers are lazy with these things, and in part they can't be blamed as the plot and the characters ARE the most important parts and so studying up on climate and currency may not be the best use of your time. But if you are interested in making your world more real, you should definitely try to go that extra mile and avoid having every country use the same currency and speak the same language, or having healing magic so injuries barely matter after the fighting, or portals so distances don't matter, etc.
  • Play to your strengths: Following up the last point, if you do have in-depth knowledge about something and are passionate about it, do not be afraid to have it be a core part of your worldbuilding. Of course, it should not just be shoved in willy-nilly and should fit neatly into the story, but your passion and attention to detail on the subject will be felt by readers.
  • Avoid anachronisms: When writing dialogue, try to make it sound appropriate to the character's background and time period, I am tired of seeing people who are supposed to be royalty say stuff like "Okay man" or "That's cool".
  • Don't be afraid to break from the mold:
  • Decide if you need deep worldbuilding at all:
  • Let the reader seek out complexity:
  • The reader is much smarter than you think:
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